Almodovar shows his dark side with "Broken Embraces"

Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:19pm EDT
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By Judith MacInnes

MADRID (Reuters) - This year in Spanish cinema, Pedro Almodovar is the new black.

Oscar-winning director Almodovar's latest film "Broken Embraces" drops his distinctive comic melodrama for the best tradition of "film noir," the dark and stylish film genre used in many crime dramas.

Set for release on March 18 in Spain and in the rest of Europe in May, the film stars recent Oscar winner Penelope Cruz in the role of a tragedy-dogged aspiring actress.

"The film noir genre is one of my favorites," Almodovar told reporters at a screening of the film on Friday. "The fact this film was really "black" was what was very satisfying."

"Broken Embraces" centers on a quartet of characters in the movie business whose lives are interwoven in a torrid tale of love, power, secrecy, betrayal and vengeance. There is the actress Lena (Cruz), script writer and director Mateo, film producer Judith and unscrupulous financier Ernesto

The dark and stylish cinematography recalls classic Hollywood thrillers of the 1940s and 1950s, including one scene where Lena's jealous lover pushes her down a long, winding staircase, evoking a similar scene in Henry Hathaway's "The Kiss of Death."

Almodovar described "Broken Embraces" -- his 17th film and with the highest budget yet of 11 million euros ($14.16 million) -- as "the story of my love for the cinema."

Spain's most famous director is known for melodramatic tragedy mixed with frenetic comedy in films like "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" and "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!".   Continued...

<p>Spanish director Pedro Almodovar (L) poses with actress Penelope Cruz during a photocall for his new movie "Los Abrazos Rotos" (Broken Embraces) in Madrid, in this file photo from March 13, 2009. REUTERS/Sergio Perez</p>